His boss, the Chief Accountant, happened to be interested in academic mathematics, and became a lifelong supporter of his. The head of the Port of Madras was a rather distinguished British civil engineer, and partly through him, Ramanujan started interacting with a network of technically oriented British expatriates. They struggled to assess him, wondering whether “he has the stuff of great mathematicians” or whether “his brains are akin to those of the calculating boy”. They wrote to a certain Professor M. J. M. Hill in London, who looked at Ramanujan’s rather outlandish statements about divergent series and declared that “Mr. Ramanujan is evidently a man with a taste for Mathematics, and with some ability, but he has got on to wrong lines.” Hill suggested some books for Ramanujan to study.
Who Was Ramanujan?
Stephen Wolfram
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Um — people-divergent /=/wrong lines. Good on you Hill. Push a book when you can’t work or talk.

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